Last week in our look at the life of Jacob (through the book "Escaping with Jacob" by David Ramos), Jacob's new life has taken him to the land where his uncle, Laban, lives. Almost immediately he meets his family, including Laban's daughter, Rachel. Jacob, in falling for Rachel, begins to think of someone other than himself. Is this an event in Jacob's life that will begin to mature him or is Jacob still the selfish young man we have known so far?
Week 8: Read Genesis 29:15-30 (The Frustrating Path to Fulfilled Promises)
"Just as we think the story, and Jacob himself, may be on an upward rise, the plot takes a frustrating turn as the young deceiver, Jacob, is deceived by his uncle Laban. After spending a month with Laban and his daughters, Jacob begins to fall in love. The younger daughter, Rachel, has caught his eye. Jacob offers seven years of work in exchange for her hand in marriage. Laban agrees, or at least he appears to.
Seven years later, after a whirlwind night of celebration with his new wife, Jacob awakes to find that the woman he just married was not Rachel, but Leah - the older, less attractive sister. In a rage Jacob storms to Laban demanding answers. "What is this you have done to me?"
Laban's answer presents a sort of poetic justice. He gave away Leah because it was not their custom to give away the younger first. It's a reversal of what Jacob did back home, breaking the custom by stealing the blessing from his older brother. It seems the mistakes of the past have caught up with him. Defeated, Jacob agrees to work another seven years for Rachel. You can be assured that these next seven years will be very different than the ones that came before.
One fact that sticks out about these verses is that God is not mentioned once. Where was God during these seven years Jacob was working? Why didn't God do anything to stop the deception Jacob experienced?
Because God is not explicitly mentioned, the reader is encouraged to look a little harder. Jacob was provided for under Laban's care. He had a place to live, food to eat, and ended up with two wives to help fulfill the promise of his descendants. Every promise God made in Chapter 28 is slowly coming true. The way God fulfills promises to us is often unglamorous. God doesn't rain down fire or boom advice from heaven. Instead, he guides softly and quietly.
This monumental frustration was all for Jacob's good. Remember Jacob's story when it seems like God is far away. God is not far. Instead, God is moving the pieces exactly where they need to be."
Takeaway from today's lesson: Even in seasons of frustration, God is at work.
Prayer: God, thank you that you know what is coming and are always working for my ultimate good. Help me trust you and know that you are not far from me. Amen.